Saturday, February 28, 2009
"Of course it is," I thought. Of all the people we know if there's anyone who will creatively find good reason to break the general time rules of how early/late it's acceptable to call someone, it's her. And today she had her reasons. I put the phone to my ear and in the complete opposite of her "morning voice" she blared, "I wanna go to the Running of the Briiiiiiiiides!" Of course she was referring to Filene's Basement annual "Running of the Brides," an event where teams of women line up, pull hair and strip naked in public in the name of deep discounts on designer bridal gowns.
Given that it was 7am and I was still reeling from the terror an unusually-timed phone call induces, I told her she was crazy. That it was too late to get on a line that, according to the Today Show already wrapped around the block, and to call me back at noon and maybe we'll go pick through the remains in what would essentially be a big, white, taffeta graveyard. And in a I'll-do-what-you-say-but-I'm-disappointed-like-a-five-year-old tone that only Y has perfected, she said, "Fine" and we hung up.
By the time I stumbled out of my bedroom and mainlined a cup of coffee, I woke up enough to realize that I was not being a good friend. Armed with the excuse that I was half asleep when she called, I picked up the phone, dialed Y and said, "OK, drive into the city and we'll go" and it's a good thing we did.
By the time we arrived the crowds had somewhat died down and their were thousands of gowns on the racks. One look around the store pierced the eyes with a sea of white speckled with the half naked bodies of soon-to-be-brides waiting to step into the next sample hopeful it would be "the one." Not ones to brandish whistles or matching T Shirts (on short notice anyway), Y and I started picking through the racks. Beaded? No. Lace? No. Pink? No. Finally armed with an armful of hits and misses (not missus) Y and I picked an unoccupied section of floor where she could take it off and I could help her put it on. It was dress # 2 that brought the tears to my over-emotional eyes and a certain spring Y's step that only comes with "the one." But how could the second dress be it? Y insisted on trying on a good 10 more dresses and I did my best to be a good friend and not scream, "This is the one. Buy it!" every time she put dress # 2 back on and smiled at herself dreamily in the mirror (especially since two of the ten looked like something sprung off of www.uglydress.com.) After all, only she could make this decision.
Knowing that dress # 2 was in fact "the one" we held on to the only two copies in the store as three to four other brides hovered like vultures waiting for us to let one of the coveted frocks out of our sight. No girl can buy a wedding gown without her mother there to give the final nod (and the final swipe of the credit card) and so Y called up her mother in South Jersey and told her to head into the city. And so, what started as "let's just go take a look then go to lunch" was shaping up to be 6 hours of watching creepy men check out half naked brides while pretending to be shopping for cuff links at Filene's Basement.
It was nearly 1pm and since Y and I possess two of the biggest appetites known to man, one of us needed to go pick up lunch. So she threw her tiny body on top of the two gowns and I promised I'd be back ASAP before heading out to Whole Foods. What would normally be a five minute visit to the grocery store in New York takes twenty because you have to battle the crowds of office lunchers picking up their whole-grain, gluten-free, tofu and bean sprout sandwiches before they smoke that lunchtime cig on the way back to the office. So as fast as I could, but not fast enough I made my way back up the three flights of escalators to the back of Filene's where Y was turning away the throngs of brides who asked to try on her gown. We plopped ourselves down in between two displays of men's undies and had a make shift picnic on the floor of Y's new favorite retailer and enjoyed ourselves. As we inhaled our food a Filene's employee and would be pageant stylist stopped by every few minutes to show us yet another monstrosity that Y "must" try on. After saying no six or seven times we finally felt bad and promised to try on the beaded taffeta tablecloth that he called elegant and stylish.
About two hours later, after running around the store looking at other dresses, taking turns guarding the two to-die-for gowns we were holding and scoping out the largest, deepest most horrendous camel toe in grey spandex you have ever seen in your entire life, Y's mom finally called and announced that she was at the front door of the store.
Needless to say, it wasn't long before we were clinking glasses in a celebratory cocktail, cheersing the bride-to-be and the gorgeous new dress she'd be sporting down the aisle. Even if she hadn't come home with a dress the sheer entertainment factor of the day and hearing a Filene's employee exclaim, "Dang, I got titties," would've made the whole trip worth it. But luckily she did get a gown and it's a stunner and hopefully her fiance won't have a heart attack when she struts down the aisle in that fierce number that was wholly worth 6 hours spent on the floor.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
After our coffee and morning news I convinced T to finally take me to see Revolutionary Road (Revolutionary Road (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage Contemporaries)) by announcing, "You're taking me to see Revolutionary Road at 11:15." As expected he hated it (partially because he was determined to hate it and partially because he actually hated it), I loved it and we had our usual post-movie let's-pretend-we-know-something-about-the-"cinema" discussion.
We had worn our gym clothes to the movie and only had to make a quick pit stop to pick up bottles of water on our way to work out. It was during this pit stop that ridiculous set in. After searching around Duane Reade for five minutes before finding where they had hidden the bottles of water, we worked our way up front and got on line. There was one person checking out and we were next. As people who generally observe the unspoken rules of social-distance we stood two, maybe three feet behind the person checking out as not to press up against her and give her flashbacks of getting grinded by over-age guys who snuck into teen night at a nightclub in the New Jersey town she grew up in (Hunka Bunka anyone?)
As the cashier scanned her items, we stood there, clearly next on line, having abandoned our "intelligent" movie conversation for more important matters like gas. Just as the transaction ahead of us was wrapping up an old woman swooped in, half looked at us and stepped in front of us on line. The girl left and the woman placed her items on the counter and instructed the cashier to check her out.
Utterly confused as to if this was really happening, I looked at T with the same confused face that I looked at my Maid of Honor with when someone farted during our wedding ceremony. My eyes darted between T and the cashier and I lost it (again, in the same way I lost it when the gas was passed under our chuppah). My face turned reddish-purple, my body shook and I couldn't stifle the laughter. Nothing I did could stop the hysterical laughing and I was literally cracking up with tears coming out of my eyes and gasping for breath between "ha-ha's." Between laughs, I gasped to T, "Is this really happening?" and the cashier did all he could to to keep it together and not start cracking up too as he tried to convince grandma that he wasn't over charging her for the cat food. I kept laughing, the cashier counted the pennies that she was paying with and T just stood there dumbfounded.
She was lucky I was having a good day, because normally I am the first person to call someone out when they behave in a manner that defies common courtesy. Just last week, some woman first, told off the person behind the deli-counter, then yelled at me to get out of her way in the grocery store so I turned around and told her, "You need to be nicer to people lady!" To my surprise, she actually responded by yelling back at me, "Yeah, you're right!" Which was basically contradictory since she yelled it at me in a the nastiest tone possible.
But on Sunday, the old broad in Duane Reade lucked out. She finished counting pennies, took her receipt and after cutting us in line with not so much as a glance back, she headed out of the store, but not before knocking down the display of tissues on the counter on her way out. It's a good thing that I can count on my husband to toss in the appropriate snide remark when I'm too busy laughing, because he yelled after her, "Don't worry lady! I got it!" (in reference to the tissues) as she made her way out the door.
I always joke that when I hit my late eighties I'm going to do the following:
1. Eat whatever the hell I want and get really fat.
2. Start smoking a pack of Virginia Slims a day.
3. Set new standards of daily wine consumption.
4. Say and do whatever the hell I want.
Maybe I'll even take up stealing, fart out loud in public and be as cranky as I want to be to "youngsters". I've always planned to do so under the guise of, "I'm old. What do you expect?" I always say this jokingly and truly hope to be healthy, vibrant and attractive (not smelly, wheezing and nasty) until they hammer the nails into my coffin. But after witnessing this woman get away with utterly ridiculous behavior and go about her day like she's entitled to do whatever the hell she wants just for hitting 70, maybe I'll meet myself somewhere in the middle...
P.S. In completely unrelated news, don't forget to get your St. Patty's Day Shirts here.
Friday, February 13, 2009
The Real Housewives of Orange County
As we approach the end of yet another season of watching these aging women with fake breasts flaunt the only thing they have going for themselves, money, I am approaching my boiling point. That is to say that with just one episode to go, I find myself disgusted with the things that come out of their mouths. This week in particular, in between fighting over who said their favorite drink was a Dirty Martini first and accusing each other of being bad people the housewives managed to come out with these gems:
Vickie (with tears in her eyes): "If I can say I got one more dancer off the poles than this cruise was worth it. "
I'm sorry, now I'm sure your three day cruise to teach people about the insurance business inspired some recent LA transplant that she too can one day shop at the Forever21 in Beverly Hills and buy the same clothes as her teenager. However, how do you think homegirl paid for the eight hours she got to spend in a stinky cruise ship meeting room listening to you talk about how you work 22 hours a day to avoid your sexless, loveless marriage and afford to buy yourself gifts because your husband won't? She worked the pole. That's how. And she's going to continue to work the pole until her boobs and her face start to droop as far as yours already have. Then, she'll go into insurance. So thanks for the insurance lecture Vicki, but don't credit yourself with ripping girls down off the pole.
Geana (pouting): "Why don't we have any 'bummers' in Orange County?
Yes, by 'bummers' she means homeless people. Does anyone else find it sickening that this woman feels jipped because unlike her daughter's college town of Berkley, CA there aren't any homeless people wandering the streets of her gated Orange County community? I'm sorry, but since when are the homeless a novelty? Have you not truly made it until there's a homeless person within a five block radius of your home? Perhaps we can plop a shelter right down next to her house so that she can play dress up with all the cute little bummers? What a d-bag.
A Hair in My Body Butter
So after dragging my sick self to the gym yesterday morning and getting in a half-ass work out, I actually had to shower before 3pm so as not to offend my lunch date by stinking. After stepping out of the shower and getting the floor soaked as ususal, I began my lengthy post-shower routine. Lotion here, brush there, eye cream, lip cream and SPF oh my! When I was sufficiently oozing youth-preserving moisture, I moved on to my favorite step: Body Butter. There's nothing I enjoy more than heaping on that gooey delicious moisturizer and basking in its delicious smell for the twenty or so minute it takes to soak in.
I was going about my business as usual, sad that I was reaching the bottom of another tub of my favorite lotion and there it was. It was dark, about 1/2 an inch long and I swear it had a face. Ok, it didn't have a face, but regardless it was menacing. With only half an arm left to butter and one scoop of cream left I wrestled with myself over what to do. Do I go fishing, pick the little fucker out of the cream, save it in a plastic bag for evidence and stick it in the freezer? Do I turn my head, scoop haphazardly and just hope the hair falls on the floor sometime between scooping and rubbing?
I daintily dipped a finger in the tub, swirled a little while contemplating my next move in Unplain vs. Mystery Hair and as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone. I was so caught up in what to do with it that I never even stopped to think about where the hair came from. As one half of a Jewish-Italian couple, I am no stranger to an abudance of hair (or sweat for that matter). The many options of the renegade hair's origins ran through my head. Was it the obvious? Was it a chest hair? Or was it the losing half of one of my ever growing split ends?
I guess we will never know where the mystery hair came from or where it's headed for that matter. I'm just happy to say it didn't wind up getting rubbed into my elbow...or did it?
The mythical Centurion Card. We've all heard of it and know about it's astronomical yearly spending requirements and fees. We've watched the VH1 specials about the supremely-absurdly-donkey-crazy rich and how the ultimate status symbol is the Black AmEx Card. But until now, I could never actually say I've seen one in use. Needless to say, that all changed.
As I waited at the front bar in the W for my lunch date yesterday, ferociously typing away on my BlackBerry addressing the important subject of Harry Conick Jr.'s hotness with my best friend, I sat next to an unassuming, 30-something gentleman who was typing ferociously on TWO BlackBerry's about what I'm guessing were more pressing matters. He drank a soda and a capuccino and I tried not to bump into him as I laughed (more like snorted) outloud at the witty banter going back and forth via email on my handheld.
Just as I was typing a long, drawn out description of Harry Conick Jr.'s chiseled chest, I saw it. Angels appeared, a choir sung in the background and I swear you could hear a gong ring out as he placed it on the bar. The Black American Express. I did a double take just to make sure I was actually watching this happen. Without flinching the waitress picked it up and took it away to swipe it (while secretly creaming herself I'm sure.) I turned to face the man so that he wouldn't see the text I was now typing on my BlackBerry, addressing both my husband and my best friend. (Some things trump a rousing discussion of New Orleans hottest export).
"I just saw some guy use a BlAmEx!!!!" I "shouted" via BBM.
The responses I got from my husband and my best friend were not very different.
T: "Talk to him!!!"
A: "And you didn't immediatley blow him?!"
(I feel the need to interrupt my story here as I just realized the two people closest to me in the world are known as T&A. Coincidence? I think not. Although that fact is chalk full of irony since I have neither T nor A despite my desperate attempts to miraculously grow both.)
Two seconds later, my lunch date arrived and I watched mystery BlAmEx man exit Blue Fin with my not having spoken to (nor felated) him.
And that ladies and gentlman, is Friday.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
A Day at the OTB
I can't tell you how many times I've walked past the Off Track Betting facility in my neighborhood, with it's fancy name (something like "The Green Medal Club) and opaque windows and thought to myself, "Wow, I wonder if it's some snooty Republican men's club." Then, because I'm staring at the windows I'll usually bump into whatever homeless man is stumbling out cursing and throwing down his tickets and realize that it's the OTB, not a branch of the Yale Club. So one day, over afternoon cocktails a friend and I decided that my next UnPlain experience should be a day spent at the OTB. Newly unemployed and with no extra dollars to spare I could dress down, stick a cigarette behind my ear and hang out in a 4' by 4' room all day with a bunch of down and out degenerate gamblers. Even as I write this, part of me still thinks it's genius. Fortunately for my health and well-being, my husband T, for the first time in the five years we've been together actually told me that I was not allowed to do it. Of course this only made me want to do it more. Eff him, right? Nobody tells me what I can and can not do!
Except that he's right. The OTB is probably a dangerous place for an attractive young lady to spend a day, but every now and then I push the thought of potentially getting stabbed out of my head and revisit the idea of going for a few seconds before I come to my husband-imposed senses once again.
I'd love to hear from anyone who's actually been!
Yes, I feel guilty even writing a small blurb about the vertically challenged (and I mean legitimately little, not just short), but people of the smaller persuasion are of particular fascination to me. It's a love-hate thing. Take the Roloff Family from the TV Show Little People, Big World. They haven't done anything to me, I've barely even watched the show, but for some reason I loathe, yes loathe, them. I despise them so much that every time a commercial for the show comes on I have to yell out loud, "It should be called Little People, Big ASSHOLES!" at the TV, even if I'm all by myself. On the other hand find me an Oompa Loompa or one of those little Maury Povich kids and my heart fills up with so much love that I want to strap on a Baby Bjorn and carry a little person around with me all day.
So today as I rode the M15 back downtown from Bed, Bath and Beyond, I saw my favorite kind of little person walking down the street. She was a little person that required a double-take just to make sure she was actually a little person. She didn't have "little person face" and was just a a smidge taller than your average below-average height person. Then, when I looked down towards her feet as she walked along I saw what were unmistakeably a pair of little girls Mary Jane's. I swear, her shoes could've been purchased at The Children's Place. Don't get me wrong, I have a few tiny-footed friends who can wear a chidren's size sneaker, but none have tiny feet so darling as this woman. I was immediately enamored. My mind went to that place where I contemplated either jumping off the bus to "interview" her for my blog (which I'm sure would go over really well) or whipping out my BlackBerry to snap a picture to later post and comment on.
Ultimately, I figured it was a bad idea to do either and it would just make me look bad, but I have a feeling just writing about it accomplished that anyway.
The Crack of Dawn
The other two ideas I had involved waking up at the crack of dawn which obviously isn't going to happen. So my apologies, but no, UnPlain Jane will not be appearing on the Mike & Juliet show this Monday nor will I ever find out what the semi-hot guy who sits at the same table at Morton's every Wednesday morning at 8am does for a living.
Any ideas that don't involve too much effort on my part are greatly appreciated!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The BBM conversation with this:
K: UnPlain I need the Rosetta Stone to decipher the language you and my fiancee use when you talk to each other.
UnPlain: Get with it K. You're Double Oh C (OOC = Out of Control)
K: Whatevs UnPlain - did I get that right? Your husband, T and I are going to come up with our own code involving burps, grunts, nosepicks and farts.
And as so many of my thoughts, conversations and diatribes begin, I responded, "Speaking of farts..."
And so, speaking of farts, while watching The Doctors, which is incidentally one of the worst, most repetitive insults of intelligence to even the most simple of simpletons TV, the subject of flatulence was raised. Immediately my ears perked up at one of my favorite topics and I slowed my roll on the elliptical and paid attention. What followed next was a tight shot of Dr. Jim holding up a pair of fire engine red man panties and applying a 3" by 3" black square to the "business area" of the "manties" (man panties). As such, Subtle Butt, when applied correctly will prevent the odor end of your best post fiber-heavy meal work from escaping past the confines of your pants.
The Doctor's then went on to explain the chemical reactions that occur and the science behind how Subtle Butt works, but I was too transfixed with the thought that I may never have to see that I-can't-believe-I-share-a-bed-with-you look from my husband or be forced to sheepishly leave the grocery store before checking out again. Just as I was wishing I had invented this genius product, it hit me that I, like most of the women I know, prefer to wear butt-floss under my skin-tight jeans and tiny patches of fabric that I pass off for dresses. And unless you're a hippopotamus or home-bound due to a genetic weight problem, odds are your thong doesn't measure 3 inches across. And if either of these are the case a little flatulence is probably the least of your issues.
But if you favor grannies or you're a man then odds are you can sleep tight with the knowledge that thanks to Subtle Butt your SBDs can now remain between you and your pants.
Realizing I'd let my writing slack off and that I'd become complacent in calling a day where I hit the gym, cooked dinner and sent out some resumes a success I decided it was time for a swift kick in the ass. I'm not one to respond well to prodding (the truth is I'm so stubborn that even if I want or planned to do a chore/task/whatever, the minute someone tells me I HAVE to do it, consider it NEVER HAPPENING). Combine that with the fact that, as my husband announced across the dinner table during one of my first meetings with his entire family, "she's a total narcissist," I knew that I needed to find some other way to motivate myself. As such, I decided that you, my readers, are the biggest motivation I have. The more hits I see on that statcounter, the more I'm convinced like Sally Field that, "you like me! you really really like me!", and the more I want to keep going.
And so as my motivation to not let the two Essay Collections I'm working on fall by the wayside like so many projects before, I've decided that once weekly I must finish an essay and publish an excerpt on UnPlain Jane. And so today I give you an excerpt from the first essay in the collection Wedding.Honeymoon.Disaster. : A Collection of Essays from a Calamity Bride.
So without further ado, here is a little taste from Chapter 1:
The Dress: My Sordid Tale of Buying off The Rack
The dress was perhaps the single most important element of “MY wedding” (aside from the groom). There is something about a dress, any dress, even a work-dress, that lights a little fire in the pit of my belly. The glorious dress. The most revered element of my wardrobe. With just this single, solitary garment, the dress, any woman can turn herself into a myriad of things. With the right bounce and a pretty frill, a dress can turn you back into an innocent again and with the right hemline and cleavage, a dress can turn you into the raging slut you always wanted to be (or were in college). With the right dress, and only the right dress, you can marry the man of your dreams and for just one day be the princess/diva/Mormon you always envisioned yourself as.
I learned the importance of the dress at the ripe old age of six when my mother purchased and subsequently hung in my closet, what I referred to as my “speech dress” (mainly because it was the dress I would put on when I would stand on top of my bed, giving speeches on topics of great important, like Strawberry Shortcake, to the audience of stuffed animals I had carefully arranged on the floor below me.) My speech dress had that perfect amount of swing that a six year old needs to do that endearing chin-down, hold on to the bottom of the hem with both hands and sway back and forth move indicating we either have to pee or want a new toy. Incidentally, I still use this move whenever I try to get my new Husband to perform some sort of emasculating act of for me, because if he really loved me, yes, he would allow me to put mascara on his incredibly long eyelashes.
The very first time I wore my speech dress was when I played the illustrious role of the “The Capital Letter I” in Ms. Zangy’s First Grade Class production of “The Alphabet”. Through the magic of poster board and the fact that, still in her early thirties, my mother was inclined to be crafty, I waltzed onto stage wearing my speech dress and a Letter I slung over both shoulders, looking like the guy on
I wore that dress as often as humanly possible until my mother finally threw it out when, in the fourth grade, I tried to shove my “80 pound whale” self (as my gentle older sister dubbed me at gym class weigh-ins) into my “speech dress” and nearly took our dog Curly’s eye out when the zipper popped off and went flying. My dress obsession was born and since that formative time as a burgeoning, first-grade fashionista, I have dubbed myself an expert in dresses, especially white ones, which is why I placed the absolute utmost importance on finding the wedding dress of my dreams. Thus, on a chilly fall night, with print-outs in hand and my best friend, A, in tow, I daintily pressed the number “3” on the elevator at Saks Fifth Avenue and sashayed past Contemporary Sportswear into their Bridal Salon for my 6pm appointment with a bridal consultant...
I hope you enjoyed your first taste of "Wedding. Honeymoon. Disasater." Look for a short excerpt each week from this project or my other baby, "Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Other Great Disappointments.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
As tiny, adorable little mini people whizzed back and forth past us, up the stairs, down the stairs with parent's chasing them tensely shouting through smiled teeth, "get that out of your mouth!", T and I looked at each other and I said, "Oh shit. Remind me to take my birth control as soon as we get home."
While kiddie parties are often scary (to us non-parents anyway) they do have one amazing upside. Sugar. And lot's of it. Not being one to understand the concept of moderation, I devised a plan. As I stated to T on the train, as thoughts of cookies and cake and chocolate whirled through my head, my plan was to skip all real food and save the calories for dessert. (I decided to do this as a precursor to the experiment I'm planning which is to ditch my normally healthy meals for one day and instead eat the same amount of calories in some sort of completely bad for me food - i.e. an entire box of Enteman's chocolate chips spread out over one day OR three five hundred calorie Oreo McFlurries - breakfast, lunch, dinner).
So while I watched T march back and forth from the lunch table deservedly enjoying an i-don't-have-to-be-on-a-wedding-diet-bliss pizza, sandwiches and whatever else he could get his hands on, I carefully plucked a few snap peas off the veggie tray knowing my moment was coming. Pretty soon, they lined the kiddies up and we sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday and my mouth watered as I watched the cake being cut into tiny child-size pieces. As I stood there feeling my bloodsugar dropping, silently thinking to myself, "you better start cutting grown-up sized when it's my turn" I noticed the fruit bowl. In a moment of sanity I decided that I would skip the cake and instead have a feast of fruit and M&M's. Which I did.
Sometime between Happy Birthday and opening presents I ingested so many M&Ms that I felt my body go into some sort of sugar shock. I was literally grinding my teeth and shaking and must've looked like something that came out of the toilet in TrainSpotting. At this rate, I would've been better off showing up as Bozo the Hungover Clown and at least have had a good reason for looking and feeling like Andy Dick's twin sister. Needless to say, I saw my only line of defense to be salt. I mean, they're opposite in taste so they must have the opposite effect right? So after everyone had left and it was just the four of us sitting across a kitchen island seperated by a small sea of Doritos, Tositos, pretzles and dip I did what was necessary and began inhaling piece by piece the salty snacks that in my mind were going to counteract the evil effects of all the delicious sugar I had ingested. Bad idea.
As we rode the train back to the city I downed bottle after bottle of water trying to flush my system out in enough time to be able to suck in my stomach, pull on my favorite jeans and head downtown to Cheap Shots with one of my friends. As I said, I do not understand the concept of moderation so after a nap and quick fix of my make-up, I was sipping a pre-game glass of wine waiting for the call that it was time to go. On my junk food kick and having skipped dinner for two reasons 1) it took about five hours for the feeling of sugar-induced naseau to subside and 2) knowing I'd be drinking enough to warrant a very late night snack, I entered the bar, ordered a Vodka Club and a round of Jolly Rancher shots (did I mention we were pretending we were 20 years old that night) and cheersed my buddies to a long night.
Somewhere between three and four bars later I looked at my Blackberry and saw that my 3 am, self-imposed curfew had arrived. Had I not had a wonderful husband sleeping at home I probably would've said "F-ck it" and used my new Google App to find out which NYC bar stays open the absolute latest, then hauled my group of friends there to keep the party going with the inevidable group of Irish lasses and lads we would find at such a place. Luckily for me, with marriage comes a newly found ability to be rational when you're out without your better half (if T is out with me it usually ends with me holding the camera snapping shots of people's reactions to whatever hilarious, obnoxious and so-unlike-him-snarky remark he just said to a complete stranger). But alas, it was girls' night so at three am, like cinderella, my towncar was about to turn into a subway ride and I grabbed a cab back uptown.
I spent the ten minute ride home deep in thought contemplating what delicous snack I was going to "treat myself" with (as if I hadn't already treated myself like a friggin Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory all day). Pizza - No. McDonalds - No. For some reason, again, my 3am rationale kicked in and I decided I was going to have a treat, but not something so bad I couldn't recover from it. I instructed the driver to drop me off in front of the 24 hour Duane Reade and wondered the aisles slowly, contemplating the many options laid out before me. Chocolate and cookies and cake, oh my! Then, like the sun breaking through the clouds, resting gently on a wire rack, was the snack of my dreams. First, I checked the nutritional content (yes, I actually did this). Second, I rationalized that at 140 calories per serving and only 2.5 servings per bag, that 330 calories was reasonable. Third, I took them to the register grabbing a mini Ghiradelli dark chocolate on the way to get some sweet on with my salty.
I walked the block home and on the way ate half of my piece of chocolate and threw the rest out. This is a horrible calorie-saving habit I have and I am fully aware that by even metioning it, half of my readership will step-back and think to themself that I am derranged. The other half will think, "good idea" and enter it into practice immediately, so it's a draw. After over-excitedly greeting our overnight doorman who "it's been way too long!" since I'd seen, I made it upstairs to my apartment, tiptoed into the bedroom, gave T a kiss on the forehead and thought, "see you after the feast."
On the couch I turned on a DVR'd episode of My Name is Earl (which I had to subsequently rewatch the next day for clarity) and downed the bag of SunChips, carefully savoring each bite. I truly believed that the bag would be enough to satisfy my late night craving but when I walked into the kitchen and opened up the fridge to get a glass of water, I saw my favorite of all the food groups staring at me: Butter. Now, if the rest of civilization wouldn't think I was disgusting, I would gladly eat butter and all butter related products with a spoon. No vehicle necessary. However, I'm aware this is socially unacceptable so even at three am, by myself, I took out a piece of bread and piled on enough butter to make it unrecognizable and then went to town. Rinse. Repeat. Only this time with a half of slice of bread (so as not to be "totally disgusting")
I woke up the next morning feeling still full and none to proud of myself. It only got worse when yesterday, as I cleaned out the fridge, I noticed that I had at some point ripped into a leftover piece of chicken as well. I dumped the chicken and headed to the gym where I put in another hour and a half of cardio to try and counteract the effects of my three am feast. Clearly the effects had already taken hold because when I stepped on the scale, the needle was a few notches higher than I generally like it to be.
Perhaps my experiment in junkfood will have to wait or perhaps I already conducted it without even realizing it. Either way, three year olds and three am nights do not a healthy, fit lady make.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Thanks to my husband's understanding, the realization that I'm allowed to have 1 unemployed breakdown in three months and the Tasti-d-Lite delivery man's quick service, by the time I went to bed I knew I would awaken to the prospect of a better day.
Not one to take even the smallest revelation or motivation lightly, I decided that today was the beginning of the rest of my life and with my new life, comes my new name. After much discussion and almost convincing my husband T that we should both change our last names to Awesome (pronounced Ow - ah - soh - me), hence making us "The Awesomes", he finally put his size 14 foot down and gently urged me to take his name. Since I'd been spending every day since meeting him five years ago scribbling my first and middle names next to his last name, dotting the "I"s with hearts, I agreed and today I was going to begin the process of making it legal.
This morning, just as I did and chronicled three months ago here, I got myself dressed and headed over to the Social Security office. Knowing that I wasn't in store for the sort of bureaucratic nightmare one encounters during a trip to the Time Warner Cable store (it's easier to obtain a passport than a new DVR cable box) I carried only a book and my Blackberry, not a suitcase full of entertainment like I brought with me last time. When I got upstairs, I pulled my number and sat down amongst the 15 or so other people waiting their turn. Pretending to read, I checked out my compadres and saw the usual suspects. A few business people with lovely London accents, a handful of Russian Mail-Order-Wifies and about four other newly-married, uppity bitches like myself. I honed in on these four making eye contact with each and silently exchanged that only-in-New-York Congratulations/Let-me-see-your-ring-to-see-if-mine-is-bigger/I'm-the-most-special-bride-bitch smile.
One after the other the woman behind the glass called our numbers and we marched up, holding our marriage certificates and newly-stamped-from-the-honeymoon passports. When it was my turn I tried to make a few jokes and exchange pleasantries with the woman processing the papers that will give me my new and just-as-unpronounceable-as-the-old-one last name. Unfortunately, it seems that all government workers are trained not to smile under any circumstances, so I switched off the charm and demanded to know why I never received the Social Security card I applied for three months ago. She responded by rolling her eyes, fiercely tapping away at her keyboard then said, "Girl, you better check with your mailman because it was mailed."
"Thanks" I blandly responded, "I guess I better check my credit report."
She stared at me blankly, handed me my passport and a receipt, then sent me on my merry with a shaky confidence that my new Social Security card, reflecting that I am now "Mrs. T" would arrive in my mailbox in 7 to 14 business days. Now all I can do is wait, check the mailbox every day and hope that none of my unfriendly postal worker's illegitimate children are running around with my soon-to-be-former identity.
Next stop on the Name Change Express: The DMV. This should be interesting
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Ever since my college days "lounge clothes" have been a staple in my wardrobe. Long before Victoria's Secret and Old Navy had a "Loungewear" section on their websites, I would strap on my roller blades, grab my roomie and head of to KMart where we'd buy identical pairs of boyshorts with the matching tank. We'd then unabashedly wear our new lounge "outfits" (aka: undies) around the dorm for all to see thinking we were cute. The only problem was my roomie was 5 foot 2 and 95 pounds while I, on the other hand, was pushing a deuce at the time. Luckily since then, I've lost the weight and the habit of wearing glorified undies in public. My old roomate, on the other hand, still finds a way to call boyshorts and a see-through tank an outfit and wear it down to a hotel buffet breakfast (in Vegas of course).
But just because I no longer wear these "outfits" in public by no means is to say that my love for and obsession with lounge clothes has faded. In fact, over time, with less pounds and more money than my college freshman self, it's grown exponentially. Some may say it's a problem, but I just love me some loungewear. Just before sitting down to watch Oprah I showered, lotioned, brushed my hair and took a good fifteen minutes to pick out the perfect lounge outfit to sit on the couch sipping wine and typing. It's sort of an out-of-body experience how I picture myself and what I'll be doing then choose the appropriate lounge outfit for whatever relaxing activity I'm in for. Sure, I could've thrown on mismatched sweats and a big T shirt and since I was by myself, literally no one would've noticed, but to me, lounging is an art. And so I chose a black one piece shorts romper to wear with a lightweight cotton cardigan (also black but white would've been cute too) and new leather flip flops that I purchased in Argentina. Hey, if Oprah had Skyped me into the show, I would've been ready!
The Wine Diet
I'm always reading some women's magazine article that consists of an editor's repackaging the same old "healthy living" tips (we don't dare say diet anymore) from "Expert Trainers!" or "Fifty Doctors" that "Weighed In." It never fails that over and over again we are spoon fed the same common-sense health tips in a way that tries to convince us that they've stumbled upon some earth-shattering fitness secret like, "Get at least a half hour of excercise in five times a week." Thanks Doc. And so recently I've decided to pick two of my favorites and put them into serious practice with my own spin on them.
Tip 1: Drink more fluids.
Tip 2: Have a conversation during your meal. You'll eat slower and get full faster.
In deciding to implement these two "health quickies" I figured the best way to do so was to
a) institute Happy Hour and
b) start eating meals at the kitchen table rather than in front of the TV as we normally do.
Instituting Happy Hour was easy thanks to the bargain bin at our favorite wine store and before I knew it, I was drinking more fluids. Check!
Eating meals at the kitchen table proved a little more difficult being that in order to eat the meals at the table, I have to cook the meals in the kitchen. Luckily my status as one of the millions of unemployed Americans has alloted me the free time to learn to stand the heat and keep my ass in the kitchen. Now almost every night as I ingest my doctor-recommended fluids I set the table, cook up something delicious and have a nice piping hot meal ready for when my husband, T, get's home.
The whole point of eating at the kitchen table is to have a conversation and thus eat more slowly. I thought this was going to prove extremely difficult for me since my usual M.O. whenever a plate of food is in front of me is to put my head down and go at it hoover-style grunting at anyone who speaks to me letting them no that there's no time for talking and then when I've licked my plate clean, I move on to my husband's.
However, thanks to all the extra fluids I've been drinking, I can't shut up! Just the other night, for the very first time in the five years that we've been together, when I finally stopped rambling on about whatever really interesting thing I'd been thinking about while cooking dinner and drinking "fluids", I looked down at my plate and saw it was still half full while, amazingly, my husband had finished his. The diet only backfired a little bit at that point when I had no choice to shut up and inhale the rest of my food before he had a chance to get at it. I guess my survival instinct kicked in.
But needless to say, I think I've stumbled upon something genious here.
Drink a lot of wine while you cook dinner so you won't be able to shut up when you sit down to eat it and low and behold, the pounds will melt off. Oh, and I highly recommend wearing some cute loungewear while you do it.
People warned me, "UnPlain, you're going to get bored very quickly." I had offers from everywhere to do lunch as a means of "getting me out of the apartment." People threw their Rolodexes at me in an effort to keep me busy. So afraid was I that I was going to end up eating ice cream all day every day counting the seconds until T walked in the door from work, that I started making endless lists of all the things I could do with my time. I re-upped my subscription to Time Out New York to ward off the evil monster called boredom and would even mark my Blackberry calendar with all the inane items I was going to do that day in effort to maintain a schedule.
6:30am Spin Class
You get the point.
Even better I thought, "I can write about all of the intersting things I'm going to do on UnPlain Jane!!" And I did: I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, I had Adventures in Vintage Shopping and so on. Then one morning, about a week into my unemployment, I woke up at 6am, started to get dressed for Spin Class and thought, "What in the hell am I doing?" I can either get up, go to spin early just so I have to time to force myself to do things I really don't feel like doing OR I can sleep in, eventually get up and spend two hours writing and checking email and THEN go to the gym.
That was the first day I hit snooze. And I've been hittin' that bad boy ever since. I've forgone the Blackberry calendar and now my days look something like this:
7:00am: Open Eyes
7:15am: Roll out of Bed
7:30am: Cook breakfast for husband and run down the list of things I'm going to do today for outloud for him (I do this out of self-imposed guilt that my weekly unemployment check really doesn't cut it)
8:00am: Eat breakfast and begin writing
11:00am: Gym followed by errands (duane reade, food shopping, whatevs)
2:00pm: Lunch! This is also the time I use to catch up on The Real Housewives, The City or whatever show I have to DVR because T won't watch it with me
3:00pm: Some more writing
5:00pm Cocktail Hour!
By the time cocktail hour is over, I've cooked dinner, set the table and T is home!
No, I didn't go to a museum or some gallery opening or meet anyone remotely interesting. Unless you count the non English-speaking greeter at CVS as interesting, which I sort of do being that it boggles my mind how this gentleman who does nothing but stand at the door all day greeting each customer with a nod, a strange, shy half-smile and mumbles a slurred together mix of Hello and Hola (hellola?) has a job and I don't.
What it comes down to is that no, I'm not bored and now that my days are peppered with recruiter-meetings, interviews, and mass emailing resumes, I'm frankly feeling at a little loss for time. I can't always go to the gym when I feel like it, I actually have to shower before I'm really ready some days and I find putting on clothes that have zippers and buttons and are not soft and snugly on the inside rather annoying. As I rode the bus home up First Ave after a job interview yesterday, I was preparing to email my husband, complaining that it was cold, the bus was taking forever and earn myself a little extra sympathy by mentioning how utterly exhausted I was from making the trip downtown.
That's when it hit me. When you have a job, you get on a bus, subway or take a long walk EVERY DAY. I quickly deleted the email realizing there'd be no sympathy for me and decided since it wouldn't come from anyone else, it was best to feel sorry for myself. Like the snow storm that slushed up the sidewalk, the prospect of employment slushed up my brain. With a job, I wouldn't be able to just go to the gym when I felt like it, I'd be tired EVERY day from just going to and from work (let alone the actual work I would do there) and I'd have to DVR Oprah knowing I'd never get the chance to watch it because it would lead to T throwing something at the TV forcing us to buy another.
Now, while most of my brain is rational and craves a job, and thus a paycheck, a small part of my brain craves a bigger chunk of the unemployment stash so I could stretch this run a little longer.
If not getting bored makes me boring, so be it, but I've found that just opening my mouth and saying whatever ridiculous thought I'm thinking to whoever is in closest proximity sparks enough entertainment to last me for a few days. Given the choice, I'd stick with that.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Cracking up, I hit "confirm" and turned to my friends saying, "Oh my gawd...Mama UnPlain is my new Facebook bestie." Immediately, I navigated the Facebook App on my Blackberry to the "Write on Someone's Wall" option and posted the phrase, "Hey Hook!" on Mama U's wall. Hey Hook is a phrase my mother has been shouting to my best friend and I every time we walk in the front door of my parent's house since the time we were about fifteen. Hook is short for Hooker and it sounds hilarious in my mother's Strong Island, NY accent. (For the record, my grandmother prefers to call us Ho's instilling in us an even greater sense of self-esteem.)
The morning after, when the vino wore off and I checked my Facebook to see if Mama UnPlain had updated her status to reflect that she was having a hot flash, I started to think about if I really wanted my mother having the same deep insight into my life that I give to my close, personal Facebook network. You know, like people I haven't seen or spoken to since the fifth grade. I delved deep into thought and contemplated if I wanted to take the time or the effort to create a "limited access" friend list leaving my mother with the same online persona I would provide to my employer or clergyman (if I had either of those.)
But when I really think about it, my Mama UnPlain (well both Mama and Papa UnPlain) are cool and have been especially since I entered my twenties (which I'm scarily inching closer to exiting.) They've reacted calmly to all my little fender benders over the years, calmly made sure I paid my fine after the police issued me a citation of public nudity after one night at the beach, and more often then not will indulge in a few cocktails with their adult daughter not complaining when my friends think they're being quiet at three in the morning. So what's the big deal about my mom perusing a few pictures of me wearing a handkerchief and calling it a dress or reading friends comments about my threatening to drop kick a cab driver/bartender/priest for not giving me my money's worth?
But then I thought a little further about the real negative affects Mama UnPlain being on Facebook could have on my life. First of all, our already three times daily phone call habit would increase with every status update (which is constant thanks to Facebook for Blackberry - I'm just short of updating, "UnPlain Jane is taking a piss). Furthermore, Mama UnPlain would no doubt be contacting me, my husband and my best friend every single time she logged on, not to comment on whatever was on our page, but to ask yet another question about how "this interweb site works." You may think I'm lying, but this is the same woman to who I am STILL trying to explain that that tying "JCPENNY" into a search engine is NOT the same thing as going to the JCPENNY website. So when I say, Mom, go to Google. What she does is type the word google into her MSN search that automatically opens when she logs on and then insists that she went to Google, but it doesn't work.
As I thought about the zillion other reasons this was a bad idea, my phone rang. I saw it my was my mother, so I picked it up and said, "Mama UnPlain!! What is up with you and Facebook?!"
"Oh UnPlain," she replied. "Your aunt and I don't even know how the hell we got to that Facebook thing last night. I just wanted to see the picture you told me about." At that point I realized I didn't have to change a thing life would remain the same. It would take her another year to figure out how to get back and by that time she'll have forgotten her password.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
This situation is nothing out of the ordinary. We've been together for five years and there are few boundaries left between us. For better or for worse, we pick our noses in front of each other, we force each other into Dutch Ovens and we've most recently forayed into the mysterious arena of belly-button lint (a fascinating phenomenon.)
However, this morning was different. It was different because instead of waking up, warm and snuggley, in our own bed, in our little apartment where no one can see us, we woke up on an air mattress in the living room of the apartment that our friends D & K share as a couple. They were just a few feet away sleeping with the bedroom door open, in full ear shot of anything and everything we said or did and knowing full well that they would not be spared a smell or sound that emanated from us, we continued on with the same comfort level that we would've if we'd been hungover and disgusting in the privacy of our own home.
We finished the morning with a cup of coffee, a four-person-revolving-door visit to the john, and the unabashed devouring of the first bagel I've had in over a year. As D & K kindly drove us to the nearest New Jersey Transit stop, my husband shamelessly insisted that if we didn't make it the train, they'd be driving us all the way back to Manhattan in much the same way he would half-jokingly coax a ride out of one of our family members. It was at this moment, I pulled out my travel-pack of Pepto Bismol chewables and asked if anyone else in the car was churning the kind of butter in their stomach that I was. Just then, I started thinking about just how long we'd been "dating" this couple and how the relationship had evolved.
We met D & K sometime around 2 and a half years ago through mutual friends and bonded instantly over the fact that we were both "JewTalian". A few weeks later we saw each other again and bonded over the fact that we all like champagne. Lots of it. It wasn't long after that that we ran into each yet again and had the first of what would be many dance-offs at our mutual friend's wedding. Things just clicked and somewhere along the line, one of us suggested that we get together, outside of the mutual friend's celebrations to, ya know, have dinner or something. After four two many cocktails, the next thing we knew we were having our first sleepover when D & K came into the city for our first official "date" as a couple.
The morning after was slightly awkward as is any "morning after" the first time a Saturday night date turns into a Sunday morning, "can I get you breakfast?" Fortunately, when you're a couple dating other couples, the day after the "third date" doesn't require an STD test or Plan B. What it does involve is staying in bed just a little longer than you normally would, not sure when you should go out into the living room where your new friends are sleeping on your air mattress and when you finally do, odds are they've already silently snuck out leaving you an adorable note and letting you know they had a great time. That's how our first morning after with D & K went and shortly thereafter we were making plans to visit them in New Jersey.
Slowly, but surely, you start to bond. Just as two single people bond over their likes, dislikes, random coincidences and shared bad habits; when you're dating another couple you start to bond over the same things. Take D & K for example, as we got to know them we realized we shared some:
Shared Likes: Wine, Drunken Hugs, Guitar Hero
Shared Dislikes: Running out of Wine, Passing out Too Early; Mean People
Random Coincidences: Being "Jewtalian"; Shared Zodiac Signs
Shared Bad Habits: Sneaking Shots, Starting Ridiculous (but-totally-justified-at-the-moment) Arguments with Each Other, Giving Customer Service Representatives an Attitude.
Unlike a date between two single people, a couple date lacks the prospect of sex (unless you're dating at the Burning Man). In fact, a couple date generally lowers the chances of anyone having sex since it usually involves an ungodly and unsexy amount of food. It also usually ends in some rendition of "Oh my gawd! He does
Dating other couples generally leaves you hungover and having spent too much money without the promise of sex, diamonds or someone to split the rent with. It almost wouldn't seem worth it, but when you wake up one morning with dragon breath, diarrhea, and only a vague recollection of why you told off that cab driver/coat check girl/bartender as a team, it's nice to know you can walk twenty feet, fart in unison and turn to your friends to ask, "what the hell happened last night?!"